May 2, 2018

Top global risk factors: cyberwar and populism

The Petya ransomware attack occurred in June 2017. Photo: Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images

"Cyberwarfare and populism are some of the top risks that could threaten global stability and financial markets in the years ahead, investors and policymakers warned at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference," Reuters' Anna Irrera reports from Beverly Hills.

Yes, but (and this was true at Davos, too): "Ironically, the mood [at the conference] was so positive that some speakers worried about excessive optimism."

  • Tom Barrack, "founder and executive chairman of Colony Northstar, said cybersecurity was his greatest concern because 'if the system itself is hacked or breaks or causes trauma, I am not sure what happens.'"
  • House Foreign Affairs Chair Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said "it’s been many years since we’ve done anything effective" against "Russian weaponization of information."
  • Peter Mandelson, a former European trade commissioner and British Labour minister: "My black swan is politics, politics in the West, which is getting bust ... And bust politics ... generates populist nationalist pressures on government and regulators, draws them more into the economy."

Go deeper

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

Trump privately scolded, warned by allies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.